Belfast Telegraph

Monday 24 November 2014

Celtic hero Forster isn’t taking a place among Europe’s big guns for granted

Fraser Forster claims Celtic's |2-0 first-leg lead over Helsingborg is a “dangerous scoreline” going into the return match of their Champions League play-off at Parkhead next Wednesday.

A Kris Commons volley in the second minute and a 75th minute header by Georgios Samaras at the Olympia Stadium on Tuesday put Neil Lennon's men within touching distance of a place in the group stages of the competition for the first time since season 2008/09.

However, the Hoops had their 24-year-old goalkeeper to thank for the clean sheet as he pulled off a series of fine saves, especially in the first half when the Swedish champions were piling on the pressure.

While it looks almost certain that Celtic will win the tie, Forster claimed the players will take nothing for granted.

After landing at Glasgow airport the big Englishman said: “The players all know the job is only half done.

“It is important that we finish it off, 2-0 is a dangerous scoreline and so it is important that we keep it tight and hopefully get the first goal next week.

“A repeat performance should be enough for us.

“Confidence is high and everyone is fully focused on getting into the group stages.”

Lennon claimed Forster's chances of winning an England call-up for the first time could only have been boosted with his performance.

“Away from home in Europe you need your goalkeeper to be strong and he had a fantastic game, he did everything right and we will maybe need more of the same in the home game,” said Lennon.

“He's got the talent, the right attitude, a great work ethic and he is improving all the time.

“He is in a good place at the minute and we all feel he is one of the best young goalkeepers around.

“It is not up to me whether he gets picked for England or not but he will not have done his chances any harm.”

The Northern Irishman was also reluctant to concede his side were as good as through to the group stages.

“There is another game to go so we are not getting too carried away,” he said.

“To have a two-goal lead and a clean sheet was as good as we could have asked for under the circumstances.

“But it is not over and we have to play well again at home.

“But we have a good home record in Europe and I'm sure we will have a good crowd roaring us on so everything is stacked in our favour.”

Lennon has some injury doubts ahead of the trip to Inverness in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League on Saturday.

The former Celtic skipper said: “Joe Ledley will have a scan on a groin problem today and Beram Kayal will have a scan on his ankle.

“Thomas Rogne rolled his ankle and Scott Brown was a little fatigued after the game because he was out for a while, so we will see where we are tomorrow with regards the game at the weekend.”

Midfielder Ki Sung-yueng, who had been linked with a host of clubs throughout Europe this summer following an impressive Olympics showing for South Korea, is in talks with Swansea after a fee had been agreed between the two clubs but Lennon said: “I don't know what the situation is at the minute.”

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